Harrisonburg Public Works reminding residents of Drainage Improvement Program

Flooding in the backyard of a home off Jefferson Street.
Flooding in the backyard of a home off Jefferson Street.(WHSV)
Published: Sep. 8, 2021 at 9:00 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - It’s been a week since parts of the Friendly City experienced flooding after remnants of Hurricane Ida blew through the Shenandoah Valley. The City of Harrisonburg is reminding people of a program available to help mitigate high water in neighborhoods.

At the end of 2018, the city’s public works department started its, Drainage Improvement Program, to help citizens concerned about drainage issues and the potential threat of damaging property.

Anyone with concerns for their neighborhood can apply online and request city-funded improvement projects like new or improved drainage systems. The program is not to focus on just one yard but a neighborhood.

Residents in a neighborhood with a concern can apply online and from there, public works reviews the application and reaches out to the neighborhood for a more detailed discussion.

Then after the application is complete public works will decide to approve or deny an applicant into the program and then the application goes to the stormwater advisory committee.

If that committee approves an applicant into the program then public works staff goes through a scoring process to see what the overall benefit of the project would be.

If it checks all those boxes, then funding for an engineering study looks at the feasibility of the project and its cost. After that, the project will be implemented into the city’s capital improvement project.

Meaning its the first time the city will see the proposed project and work could begin.

Tom Hartman, with Harrisonburg Public Works, said the program was developed after visiting areas of the city like Jefferson Street and seeing the flooding impact. He said residents like the ones who live on Jefferson Street could benefit from the project.

“That would be an area of the city that if they wanted to pull together and come talk to us about potential solutions and see if they could be in the drainage improvement program that’s definitely an opportunity for them,” Hartman said.

Hartman said the process is lengthy because stormwater dollars are hard to come by but so far they have had three groups approved for the program with another wrapping up the feasibility study.

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